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Old 07-31-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
kkocher13
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Default Stalled Fermentation?????

I started a batch of Pale ale on wednesday. Starting temp was 72 degress, SG was 1.052. I pitched the yeast and by thursday morning I was bubbling away. Came home thrusday night and the temp was around 78 degrees, but still bubbling away so I left it alone. I woke up this morning (Friday) and nothing. Fermentation stopped dead in its tracks. Did my to high temp kill my yeast? Should I just wait on it for a few days? It seems strange to me that I could have gotten all my fermentation done in 2 days. I'm kind of stumped right now. Anybody have any suggestions. I guess the biggest question I have is did I ruin my beer or do i need to do anything to correct the problem.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:15 PM   #2
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Its possible your fermentation is complete as it would have sped up a bit at the higher temperatures. You should check the gravity and see if your beer has dropped as much as it should have. It is unlikely that it stalled at the higher temps, lower temperatures maybe, but not 78.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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You don't KNOW that you have stalled ferementation, you have stopped airlock bubbling...there's a huge difference between the two....

Airlock bubbling, lack of airlock bubbling, stopped airlock bubbling, fast airlock bubbling, slow airlock bubbling, heavy metal airlock bubbling, or disco airlock bubbling really is not an indicator of what is happening to your beer. It is NOT a fermentation gauge, it is a valve to release excess pressure, excess CO2...NOT AN ACCURATE INSTRUMENT....

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in.....

That's the same thing when we assume anything by something as faulty as an airlcok.

The 4 possibilites are;

1) Fermentation is indeed complete.
2) Fermentation is stalled/stuck (really really rare for most beers)
3) Fermentation is still going on but not producing enough co2 to bubble the airlock. (Most likely because the yeast has a lot of work to do that's why many of us leave our beer in primary for a month to let the work go on or two weeks then secondary.)
4) Fermentation is still going on but the co2 is escaping through your airlock seal/bucket seal, you opened the bucket or removed the stopper, or knocked it and the co2 is going elsewhere.

I have 9 fermenters and over the years I can say that only about half my beers EVER have bubbling airlocks, and all my beers turn out fine.

So until you actually take a hydrometer reading you really don't know what is going on under the hood...all you know is the airlock is not bubbling, not anything else.

Since it has only been three days I wouldn't do anything til next wednesday, then I would take a hydro reading. There is really no need to do anything right now, except let the yeast continue to work away at your beer.

Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happening to your airlock, doesn't mean that anything's wrong, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working diligently away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years....There is still plenty of work to do on your beer.

Like I said many of us pitch our yeast then come back in a month to bottle. Our beer is really hardy, and we really don't need to hover over it.

Relax, it is doing what it needs to be doing.....

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Alright, I will wait for a week and see what happens. I've been through about 10 batches and I've never had one react like this. In fact I've made this same beer before and it didn't react like this. That was the cause for my alarm. I guess patience is a virtue in this hobby. Thanks for the help.

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Old 07-31-2009, 03:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kkocher13 View Post
Alright, I will wait for a week and see what happens. I've been through about 10 batches and I've never had one react like this. In fact I've made this same beer before and it didn't react like this. That was the cause for my alarm. I guess patience is a virtue in this hobby. Thanks for the help.
One thing to realize is that since we are dealing with living micro-orgasms, that no two fermentations are ever the same. So we shouldn't expect them to be.

And to never assume that because something is happening differently, in one batch to another, that there is something wrong.

When we are dealing with living creatures, there is a wild card factor in play..Just like with other animals, including humans...No two behave the same.

You can split a batch in half put them in 2 identical carboys, and pitch equal amounts of yeast from the same starter...and have them act completely differently...for some reason on a subatomic level...think about it...yeasties are small...1 degree difference in temp to us, could be a 50 degree difference to them...one fermenter can be a couple degrees warmer because it's closer to a vent all the way across the room and the yeasties take off...

Someone, Grinder I think posted a pic once of 2 carboys touching each other, and one one of the carboys the krausen had formed only on the side that touched the other carboy...probably reacting to the heat of the first fermentation....but it was like symbiotic or something...

With living micro-organisms there is always a wildcard factor in play...and yet the yeast rarely lets us down. So it is best just to rdwhahb and trust that the know to what they are doing.



But honestly, as a brewer with 10 batches under your belt, the first thought should be to get out your hydrometer, NOT post a thread, or even worry. That is what it is for...to tell you what is going on.

Even if you don't use it regularly, you should use it if you are worried or suspect something is not right, about your beer. I mean, it's not like I use a hydrometer every 5 minutes...normally I use it twice, before I pitch my yeast, and 1 month later on bottling day.....Or 3 times if I am planning to secondary in about two weeks to add fruit or oak or something, to make sure that fermentation is where I want it to be at before I move the beer....

But if I think there is something wrong, then the first thing I look at is the gravity reading. That is our "brewing babelfish," it translates beer language into human speak. And let's us know what's going on....You can even do it now if it will make you feel better.
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:03 AM   #6
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Like Revvy said, take a gravity reading -- just go get a turkey baster, sanitize it (microwave some water in a pyrex, douche it a couple times, and let'er rip), pull some beer out and put it in your hydro flask -- super easy.

While it seems rare because it happens less frequently, yeast will stall if it gets too hot (I just saw this in my Saison ferment). More likely, it probably stalled at night after a dip in temperature. One little dip can cause the yeasties to fall asleep.

Try swirling the beer in the fermenter and get the yeast cake at the bottom back in suspension -- if it is stalled, that could be enough to get it going again.

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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Just took a hydrometer reading and 1.016 only about .002-.004 off. So I stirred it up with a sanitized spoon and I'll give it another couple of days before bottling. Does anybody know If I will get any different flavors because the fermentation temp got fairly high. I've heard of some getting almost a bubble gum flavor. That would not taste good in this beer.

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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If it was really hot during the first 72 hours you MAY get some off flavors...emphasis on MAY, every situation is different and fermentation is unique, and our beer is often more resiliant than we believe.

But if you've heard about bubblegum flavors, then you may also have heard that sometimes they condition out with time as well...

I talk about that in this thread; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkocher13 View Post
Just took a hydrometer reading and 1.016 only about .002-.004 off. So I stirred it up with a sanitized spoon and I'll give it another couple of days before bottling. Does anybody know If I will get any different flavors because the fermentation temp got fairly high. I've heard of some getting almost a bubble gum flavor. That would not taste good in this beer.
Well, what did the hydrometer sample taste like....you did drink it, right?
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:35 PM   #10
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No I didn't taste the hydrometer sample. I'll give it a try when I bottle, but I read the thread Revvy sent on "never dump your beer" and no matter what it tastes like I will bottle it. I'll update when I taste it.

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